Our New Reality, Day One

Dave and I picked up Ava last night.  We brought her home and she met Gracie outside on “neutral” territory.  They seemed to have gotten along… then we came inside.  Gracie first (my first error of the night).  When Ava and Dave came in, Gracie defended her home.  She barked and got in Ava’s face.  Poor little dog, Ava immediately went into submissive mode.  It went that way for a while, Ava staying in the vestibule of our house and Gracie tense.

Sigh.  Did we make a mistake?  That was my first thought.  Then I called Lisa. She said to reward the good behavior. So we tried that.  All night long Gracie would snarl at Ava whenever she got near me.  Not so much Dave, but always with me. This put sweet, damaged Ava in an uncomfortable spot, literally!  She stayed in the vestibule facing the door hoping that her foster mommy would come pick her up.  Then, when that didn’t happen, she just tried to get comfortable.

So, Gracie the perfect little dog, is my guard dog.  Great. We saw it after my surgery.  She stay by my side.  But not once had she acted out in protection of me.  It may be that Ava is a girl dog and most of Gracie’s dog friends are boys.  We didn’t want to reinforce the guard dog thing, so as soon as I realized what was happening, Dave and I made sure Gracie was never actually guarding me.

  • Dave reasserted his top dog status by making sure Gracie was always settled down
  • I would put myself between her and Ava and face Ava, not Gracie.
  • Gracie was required to be down.
  • All the time reinforcing good behaviors in both dogs

By the end of the night, I was exhausted, hoping we didn’t make the wrong decision.  At bedtime, Dave took the dogs out one at a time.  I brought Ava upstairs with a dog bed. I put the dog bed in the corner and put her in it.  She roamed around and that was okay.  Then Dave brought Gracie up and she went directly on the bed where she stayed all night right next to me.  I realize this was reinforcing the guarding of momma, but I we decided we needed status quo.

When I got up around 4, Ava was in the corner, on the dog bed.  When Dave got up at 6, the report was the same.  Ava stirred a bit when Dave left the room and I made sure Gracie’s head was down.  All the time thinking about the dog whisperer, she needs to be a calm, submissive dog.

So, now, this morning.  Dave took the dogs out one at a time, Ava first then Gracie.  When Gracie came in, she smelled Ava who was sitting on my lap.  That was it, just smelled her.  Good girl Gracie.  Then Gracie jumped on the couch without asking and sat between Dave and me.  And asked for her belly to be rubbed!

Right now both dogs are laying down separate with an uncomfortable truce. And no one is barking!

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